March 22, 2006

“High School” tops the class on album chart

By Katie Hasty

NEW YORK (Billboard) - After nine consecutive weeks of
sales increases, the soundtrack to the Disney cable TV movie
"High School Musical" returned to the top of the U.S. pop album
chart Wednesday.

The Walt Disney Records set sold 142,000 copies in the week
ended March 18, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a 3% increase
over the previous week, prompting a move up from No. 3.

It was the soundtrack's highest tally since its debut 10
week ago, no doubt boosted by appearances by the TV movie's
stars, Zac Efron and Vanessa Anne Hudgens, on MTV's "Total
Request Live." The disc first sat at No. 1 three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, British singer/songwriter James Blunt's "Back to
Bedlam" sat tight at No. 2 with 126,000 copies in its 24th
week. Last week's champ, New Orleans rapper Juvenile's "Reality
Check," slid to No. 5 with 75,000 copies in its second round.

Bay Area rapper E-40 earned his first top 10 on the
Billboard 200 in a decade as "My Ghetto Report Card" bowed at
No. 3 with 94,000 copies. His 1996 set "Tha Hall of Game"
opened at No. 4 with 123,000 copies.

R&B singer Ne-Yo's former chart-topper "In My Own Words"
climbed one place to No. 4 with 77,000 copies. In its 18th
week, Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" rose one place to No. 6
with 64,000 copies.

Hasidic reggae artist Matisyahu's "Youth" fell three places
to No. 7 with 58,000 copies in its second week, while "The
Legend of Johnny Cash" hits package kept the No. 8 spot warm
with 56,000 copies.

Chicago-area rock band Fall Out Boy's "From Under the Cork
Tree" surged 33 places to No. 9 with 52,000 copies, thanks to a
March 14 reissue of the title with five bonus tracks. The Jack
Johnson and Friends companion album to "Curious George" rounded
out the top tier at No. 10 with 51,000 copies.

Other debuts included country troupe SheDaisy's
"Fortuneteller's Melody" at No. 22 with 33,000 units. Steely
Dan principal Donald Fagen's third solo disc, "Morph the Cat"
(Reprise), bowed at No. 26 with sales of 32,000. His last solo
effort, "Kamakiriad," flew in at No. 10 13 years ago.

The soundtrack to "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," which
features performances by Jill Scott, the Roots and Mos Def,
among others, debuted at No. 44 with 21,000 units. The Rogue
Pictures film has grossed more than $12 million at the U.S. box
office since its March 3 release.

At 10.4 million units, overall CD sales were down 3% from
the previous week and down 4% compared to the same week a year
ago. Sales for 2006 are down 3% compared to 2005 at 119 million